Ah, the farm life. Not much downtime on a farm although the seasons dictate chores. You have to be a planner, a strategizer, a fiction writer to see how a farm frows from a single bell pepper seed. Farmers imagine futures the way novelists picture the perfect ending from word one.
With a healthy dose of trepidation, I took over Ghost House Farm for ten days while the resident farmers, my eldest and her partner, fled the snow to Costa Rica. My SIL had spent hours removing the snowpack between the garage, making it wide so the sides didn’t feel so claustrophobic. It lasted two days before the wind found a place to blow snow.
Did I say I looked forward to being a snowed-in farmer/writer for the week? That must have been before I had to shovel three-foot drifts, re-pank new snowshoe trails to the chicken coop, and cut “steps” in the drifts to get off of them. I found out that you can fall in snowshoes and that a 5-gallon water bucket with a lid can be a great device for regaining verticality.
The chickens have a cozy sauna repurposed into a sealed coop. Not even snow can get in. But it does require shoveling. Every outbuilding on the farm has its own shovel. The drift outside the bowl to the door protects it from blowing snow, but the drift built up high enough for me to need three steps. And they worked.
By the time I got back inside from the outside chores, another round of inside chores began. I’m to carefully monitor three flats of seedlings. In the dining room, an entire wall is shelved with grow lights and heat mats. My job is to monitor sprouts and moisture. I also water the potted herbs and house plants. I water the dogs and cat, feed and snuggle them, too.
This is a group effort. I’m staying at the farm but several others are lined up to carry the big water buckets and move bales and snow (on storm days, not windy ones). Everyone wants to take care of the goats. No one wants chicken chores. It’s interesting how quickly we all fell into a rhythm. Even the dogs.
My desk is set up on the dining room table near the woodstove. It’s a sunny spot with a south-facing window to my left. At night, it’s pitch black outside. It’s a great spot for writing. I’ve been inspired, bringing with me my vision and notes, and planful tools. I brought books and I have had a delicious time researching for an article I’m writing about a local 88-year-old woman.
Farming is like creative writing. Not only can we imagine future harvests from blank pages, but our work is multi-layered. At Ghost House farm, animal husbandry is like a character arc to a plot. You can farm without animals, just like you can write a book that is all plot and no character arc. It’s important to know what you want to farm or write. And everything you do — from cultivating soil to layering craft elements — has a big impact that requires your focus. Farmers and writers are creative problem-solvers.
This week, I’m inviting you to get into the farm life no matter the season, location, or farmers.
And, in case you were wondering…yes, I did.
February 28, 2022, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write about the farm life. Where is the farm and who are the farmers? What are they farming and why? How is the farm life? Go where the prompt leads!
- Submit by March 5, 2022. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form. The Collection publishes on the Wednesday following the next Challenge. Rules & Guidelines.
- Carrot Ranch only accepts stories through the form below. Accepted stories will be published in a weekly collection. Writers retain all copyrights.
- Your blog or social media link will be included in your title when the Collection publishes.
- Please include your byline which is the name or persona you attribute to your writing.
- Please include the hashtag #99Word Stories when sharing either the Challenge or Collection posts in social media.
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